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Panic fueling lines at the pumps

By Staff | May 13, 2021

There is no gas shortage in Florida.

There is no gas shortage in Cape Coral.

Well, yes, there was a lack of fuel as of Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, but it was not due to a shortage of gasoline.

The lack of gas at some stations has been caused by what The AAA Auto Club calls “panic buying.”

All aflutter by reports in other states, Floridians began “racing out to top off their tanks,” according to Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group.

And so, here in the Cape, the sight of lines at some stations along Del Prado Boulevard led to longer lines, which led to the resultant sight of plastic bags covering pump handles at some stations, which led to…. Well, you get the point, we hope, we hope.

“The problem is, that surge in demand is what actually creates the supply issue, since gas stations can only hold so much fuel at a given time,” Mr. Jenkins said in a statement released by the auto club to explain the consumer-driven problem.

Meanwhile, “gasoline supplies remain strong,” according to AAA.

Some facts for those whose worst fears are a repeat of last year’s toilet paper “crisis”:

The Colonial Pipeline was back up and operational late Wednesday.

Not that the cyberattack mattered in terms of supply, at least to drivers here.

“Florida is not heavily reliant on the Colonial Pipeline. Ninety percent of Florida’s gasoline flows in through our ports on cargo ships. That gasoline is then driven to the pumps on tanker trucks,” according to AAA.

“This is not a refinery issue. Gasoline is still being made and fuel continues sailing through Florida ports, regardless of whether Colonial Pipeline is operational,” Mr. Jenkins explained. “Florida is said to have access to plenty of gasoline. It’s now just a matter of getting the fuel where it’s needed, primarily those gas stations that are being tapped out due to panic buying.”

So what does it take to fix the non-shortage, shortage?

We need to stop panic buying.

“AAA urges drivers to be calm and not make matters worse by hoarding,” Mr. Jenkins said. “Please continue with normal fueling patterns and take only what you need.”

Please resume normal fueling habits.

Please only take what you need.

Or put another way, don’t be a gas hog and cause what you fear — no gas when you need to fill up.

That’s good advice now, and something to remember for the hurricane season ahead.

— Breeze editorial